Turkey is another nation that faces limited, but extremely momentous, decisions- like England, it sits in a corner. While this makes it inherently difficult to conquer, it also makes it difficult to push out past a fairly small perimeter- this is something important to keep in mind as you look at the map and read about various tactics.
Turkey has only 3 neutral supply centers and 1 enemy home center within its possible reach in 1901, the most limited selection of any power on the board. What’s worse, two of those neutral centers can be only reached by Turkey in the fall, but can be reached by other powers in the Spring. Further narrowing the field of possible orders, Turkey has the one unit on the board (A Con) whose first round move is almost mandatory- Bulgaria, the only neutral SC on the board that is indisputably Turkey’s in 1901. If you manage not to hold that in the first year, something has gone horribly wrong. The other two units, then, are where the interest picks up. Even more than other nations, Turkish moves in 1901 are dominated by the elephant in the early game of any Diplomacy match- Is there or is there not a Russian-Turkish alliance (the “Juggernaught”) and how much do you want to try to fake people out if so?
Before discussing specific moves, the overall strategy needs discussion. In general, if you can, a R/T alliance is one of the strongest possible on the board- even if it favors Russia slightly more than Turkey because it’s easier for Turkey to get bogged down in the Balkans. The problem is that everyone else competent on the board is well aware of this, and if it’s blatant that an R/T alliance has formed you can be fairly sure Germany, Austria, and Italy are going to start working together- and that’s doubly bad news for Turkey. So your goal is to camouflage a juggernaught for as long as you reasonably can, while still ensuring a build.
- Russian Attack Openings
These openings have the common feature that they involve F Ankara-Black Sea. They can be a smokescreen, especially with a prearranged bounce in the Black Sea; or Russia can move to Rumania by arrangement and then in the fall allow Turkey to take Rumania and disband Russia’s fleet. Understandably this is rare, since Russia gives up hope of a southern build.
- Balkan Attack
This is the order where A Smyrna moves to Constantinople. It is a fairly balanced set of orders, combining apparent threat to Russia and Austria alike, and lets you apply force to Serbia, Greece, and Rumania even with a Black Sea bounce in the Fall.
- Crimean Attack
In this order, A Smyrna moves instead to Armenia. This is the most ostensibly anti-Russian opening possible, giving if Black Sea succeeds two units on Sevastopol in the Fall; but even this can be a stealth R/T with F BLA C A ARM-BLA-BUL or RUM!
- Balkan Attack
- Mediterranean Attack Opening
In these, F Ankara moves into Constantinople instead of the Black Sea. There’s really only one companion to this; A Smyrna H provides cover on Turkey’s north shore in case Russia attacks the Black Sea anyway because you can self-bounce in Ankara while holding Bulgaria, and then building your build as a new F Ank. Typically the companion to this is trying to bounce in Greece, and being satisfied with one build as you move F Con-Aeg and build another fleet in Smyrna. Two fleets in the Mediterranean in 1902 is a disaster scenario for Italy, who is in very real danger of getting swamped early; however, if Russia cooperates, this is the clearest possible indicator of an R/T alliance.
- Turkish Hedgehog
Properly speaking this is a variant of the Mediterranean push, but is a notable enough opening on its own to merit a separate entry. It goes like this: A Con-Bul, F Ank-Con, A Smy-Arm. You’re attacking in all directions at once; the optimal compliment to this is to persuade Russia to let you have the Black Sea, and then just don’t take it. If he does, you can self bounce in Ankara and hold Bulgaria; if he doesn’t, you can play merry hell with Sevastopol with that army in Armenia while holding Bulgaria or bouncing in Greece and moving into the Mediterranean early. This is a high risk high reward strategy, and signals an A/T more than anything else (an alliance not typically long for this world) as it is hard to ‘pull back’ into an R/T alliance. If you want to convince a wary Austria and Italy you have no desire to steamroll them, though, this is a good move.
Overall, as a matter of personal taste I tend to default towards a Mediterranean push; I almost always try to rope Russia into an alliance and am dubious about any competent player being taken in by a ruse for long enouch to make up for the loss of tempo by moving ‘backwards’ with respect to Italy and Austria, both certain midgame bitter enemies of you.